War of the Rebellion: Serial 081 Page 0438 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter LII.

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Afterward another order was received [hour not known] that the command would move at 10 or 10.30 a.m. [I am not certain which] whether the rations were issued or not and perhaps sooner. Soon an absolute order to move at once was received, my division to be in rear. I followed closely upon General Gibbon and it was 1 p.m. by my watch us we began to march. I halted once for a few minutes when the division in front halted. The head of my column had passed the blacksmith's shop about one-eighth of a mile when I received a written order [which I have lost] directing me to take another road which would shorten the distance to Old Court-House some two miles. The order stated that the order two divisions had taken the wrong road and would meet me at Old Court-House. I at once turned back and took the road designated. I met an orderly with a dispatch from Lieutenant-General Grant stating that a staff officer of his had passed over the road and seen nothing of the Second Corps, which had been ordered to march in the morning; that General Smith had carried the outer works of Petersburg and might need Hancock's assistance. I sent an answer to General Grant stating where we were and forwarded General Grant's dispatch by a staff officer to General Hancock. On nearing Old Court-House I sent an officer forward to meet the other divisions, but could find nothing of them and no one to give further orders. Captain Bird, captain of pioneers, on my staff, accidentally met Lieutenant-Colonel Morgan on a by-road and reported to me that Colonel Morgan directed that I should move straight on, cross the railroad, and then take the road to the left, and that he [Colonel Morgan] would meet me near the railroad. Captain Bird also stated that Colonel Morgan, besides giving the above directions, pointed out the road on a map. I may here state that I have not the map shown by Colonel Morgan. That furnished me from headquarters a day or two before does not even contain Petersburg. On reaching Old Court-House a road bore off to the left. Judging it to be the nearer road to Petersburg, I turned my column off into it. Captain Bird, who had ridden ahead, returned and stated that he had been over the railroad by the road running "straight on" and had found the road turning to the left, and answering Colonel Morgan's description. He examined the map I had and stated that the straight road was the one indicated by Colonel Morgan. He was sure of it. Thereupon I turned my column back taking the straight road, crossing the railroad and turning to the left. I supposed that Colonel Morgan desired me not to take the left-hand road either because I should interfere with other troops, or because the enemy might be there. Also Captain Bird was positive that Colonel Morgan had told him to "cross the railroad," whereas the road to the left from Old Court-House does not cross the railroad on any map I have.

I further desire respectfully to call attention to the fact that orders given verbally to my captain of pioneers are not orders given to me, and that though I am bound to obey them, I am not responsible for any error of transmission. I may also remark that I had no means whatever of knowing where were the "outer works," which General Smith had captured, or where Smith's lines were. When I left Old Court-House it was after 7 p.m. About 10 p.m. I reached the vicinity of our lines near Petersburg, and sent forward a staff officer with Colonel Morgan to ascertain from General Hancock what our position was to be. During the night I was ordered to a point in the rear of General Birney's left, and in the morning [I do not know the hour], I was ordered to form so as to protect the left flank of General Birney, and to